Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Valenciennes 1836)

Other Names: Conmuri, Coorong Mullet, Estuary Mullet, Forster's Mullet, Freshwater Mullet, Pilch, Pilchard, Victor Harbour Mullet, Yelloweye, Yellow-eye Mullet, Yellow-eyed Mullet

A Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri, at Auckland, New Zealand. Source: Auckland Council, New Zealand / License: All rights reserved


This the most common mullet species found in southern Australian waters. It has two short-based dorsal fins, a broad head, a short pointed snout with a small mouth, and a slightly forked tail. Yelloweye Mullet are greenish-brown above, with silvery sides, a paler underside, with a bright yellow iris and no dark spot at the pectoral-fin base.

The most common mullet in southern Australia, often seen in large surface schools along the coast. This popular angling fish usually inhabits bays and estuaries, often around mangroves.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2021, Aldrichetta forsteri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Valenciennes 1836)

More Info


Widespread and locally abundant in coastal waters of southern and western Australia, from northern New South Wales (with a record from Shoalwater Bay, Queensland), to the Swan River, Perth, Western Australia (and possibly north to Shark Bay) Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Zealand.

Yelloweye mullet form schools over sandy and muddy substrates, and seagrass beds in coastal bays and estuaries, at depths 10 metres. While mostly inhabiting marine to estuarine areas, the species also occurs upstream in coastal or brackish lakes, and the lower freshwater reaches of streams - although rarely beyond the tidal influence.


Dorsal fin IV + I, 9; Anal fin III, 12-13; Caudal fin 14; Pectoral fin 14-15; Pelvic fin I, 5.

Body elongate, shallow (19-27% SL), moderately compressed; caudal peduncle shallow; head small (24-27% SL), only slightly flattened above, distinctly deeper than broad posteriorly; snout pointed; eyes of moderate size (20-26% HL), with small triangular adipose membrane in front; mouth terminal, oblique, small, reaching to below forward edge of eyes; teeth small, strong, in narrow bands on jaws, enveloped by lips, and on tongue, vomer, palatine and pterygoid; Nostrils nearer each other than to lip or eye, posterior not reaching above level of upper rim of eye; interorbital convex.

Scales mostly cycloid, moderately small, covering body and head, those on cheeks smaller than elsewhere, 54 58 scales between edge of each operculum and base of tail; lateral line absent.

Two widely separated, short based dorsal fins, spinous dorsal located centrally on back, outer margin of soft dorsal slightly concave; anal fin slightly larger than soft dorsal, base of first soft ray distinctly in advance of origin of soft dorsal fin, outer margin of fin strongly concave; caudal fin of moderate size, distinctly forked; pectoral fins inserted at level of eyes, small, upper rays longest, reaching to below origin of first dorsal fin; dorsal ray of pectoral fins developed as a short spur or ‘spine’ (not a true spine), not reaching level of origin of first dorsal fin; pectoral fins 19 to 23% standard length, 73 to 93% head length; ventral fins small, abdominal, inserted below middle of pectoral fins. 


To 50 cm TL, usually to 30 cm.


Yellowish brown above, fading to silvery white below; iris golden yellow; fins pale, almost translucent, with dusky margins; no dark spot at pectoral-fin base.


Omnivore - feeds on plant, animal and detrital material, including algae, crustaceans, molluscs, and invertebrate larvae. Adults mostly scavenge on organic matter, while juveniles feed on plankton and small benthic invertebrates.


There appear to be eastern and western populations of this species. Individuals in Western Australia spawn in the winter, whilst those in eastern waters spawn during summer. Yelloweye mullet breed in estuaries, spawning large numbers of tiny free-floating eggs; likely to participate in group spawning.


An important commercial and popular recreational species in New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. The species is used as fish bait. Considered to have tasty flesh.


  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • Remarks

    This is the most common species of mullet in southern waters and is an important food source for marine predators.

    Species Citation

    Mugil forsteri Valenciennes, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1836, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 11:141. Type locality: New Zealand.


    Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2021


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Yelloweye Mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri (Valenciennes 1836)


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    Jones, G.K., Baker, J.L., Edyvane, K. & Wright, G.J. 1996. Nearshore fish community of the Port River-Barker Inlet Estuary, South Australia. 1. Effect of thermal effluent on the fish community structure, and distribution and growth of economically important fish species. Marine and Freshwater Research 47(6): 785-799.

    Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

    Kingsford, M.J. & Tricklebank, K.A. 1991. Ontogeny and behavior of Aldrichetta forsteri (Teleostei: Mugilidae). Copeia 1991(1): 9-16.

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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37381001

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:0-10 metres

    Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

    Habitat:Coastal marine, estuarine, occ. freshwater

    Max Size:50 cm TL

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    CAAB distribution map